NSSF On DDTC “Guidance” On ITAR

The US State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls recently issued so-called guidance on what activities would come under the umbrella of the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR). We just interviewed gunsmith Joseph LaJoy of LaJoy Precision on Friday night for the Polite Society Podcast on this very issue. Activities listed as manufacturing and thus subject to ITAR include traditional gunsmithing activities such as threading a barrel or reaming a new chamber. Gunsmiths will now have to pay an annual fee of $2,250 if they do something as simple as that or face massive fines and/or imprisonment. We concluded the rationale behind this “guidance” was to attack the gun culture and to drive gunsmiths out of business.

Joseph LaJoy said in the interview that he wished groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation would get involved in the issue. From Joseph’s mouth to the NSSF’s ear, the release below was sent out on Saturday.

NSSF Statement Regarding DDTC’s Recent Firearms “Guidance” on Registration
On July 22 the U.S. Department of State – Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) issued “guidance
meant to clarify who is required under the Arms Export Control Act
(AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to
register as a “manufacturer” of “defense articles,” which includes
firearms and ammunition products (U.S. Munitions List Categories I –
III), and pay an exorbitant annual $2,250 registration fee. Under the
law, registration is required even if the manufacturer does not export
and even if the manufacturer makes component parts.

DDTC
asserts that the guidance merely restates existing DDTC policy and
interpretation of the AECA and ITAR manufacturer registration
requirement.

Unfortunately,
DDTC’s “guidance” has created considerable and understandable confusion
and concern among gunsmiths and gun owners. The National Shooting
Sports Foundation (NSSF) is reviewing the guidance and will send a
letter of protest to DDTC expressing our strong opposition to the new
“guidance,” the scope of which clearly exceeds their statutory
authority. The term “manufacture” as used in the AECA and ITAR is its
ordinary dictionary definition. Clearly, many of the activities DDTC
claims require registration constitutes gun smithing and is not
manufacturing under any reasonable dictionary definition of the term.
DDTC’s position is similar to claiming an auto mechanic who fixes your
car is a car manufacturer.

NSSF
has been working diligently for many years to eliminate, or at least
significantly lower, the excessive and burdensome registration fee
especially for non-exporting manufacturers and non-essential component
parts manufacturers. Simply put, forcing small manufacturer to pay
$2,250 annually to register when they are not utilizing the DDTC export
licensing system to export products is an unfair and onerous regulatory
burden. This is even more outrageous when one considers that DDTC is
sitting on at least $140 million dollars of previously paid registration
fees collected over many years from exporters from many industries
including ours.

Additionally,
we have been working with allies in Congress to pressure the Obama
administration to complete the Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative,
which would with limited exceptions do away with the AECA and ITAR
manufacturer registration requirement and onerous fee for commercial and
sporting firearms.

To
date, the Obama Administration has refused to publish and implement the
regulatory changes necessary to transfer for export licensing of
commercial and sporting firearms and ammunition products to the
Department of Commerce from the Department of State. Read more on
Export Control Reform. Yet, the proposed rules have been drafted and
ready for publication since December 2012. Inaction persists despite
congressional testimony and letters to members of the U.S. House and the
Senate that they would publish the rules.

Why
has the Obama administration refused to move ECR forward for our
industry? It is really very simple. The Obama Administration is singling
out our industry for different treatment under the ECR because of its
gun control politics. It is time to force Congress to step in and stop
the Obama Administration’s gun control agenda from stopping this needed
reform. See the ECR dashboard.

How can members of the firearms industry and gun owners help?

  1. Call your U.S. Representative at 202-225-3121 and U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 urge him or her to support Rep. Collin Peterson’s (D-Minn.) Resolution, (H. Res. 829) that
    demands the Obama administration complete the ECR and publish the
    proposed rules to transfer the licensing of commercial and sporting
    firearms and ammunition products to the Department of Commerce (which
    does not require registration or payment of a fee).
  2. Tell
    your U.S. Representative and Senators to force DDTC to stop imposing
    excessive and onerous registration fees on small businesses that do not
    export products. Tell them to support language in the Fiscal Year 2017
    State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that will reduce the
    registration fee to a nominal amount for all non-exporting manufacturers
    and component part manufacturers.
  3. Tell
    your U.S. Representative and Senators stop the Department of State from
    exceeding its statutory authority; that mounting new sights to improve
    accuracy on your hunting rifle doesn’t require you to register with the
    Department of State and pay a fee of $2,250.

A Commemorative Day I Could Do Without

July 9th was the UN’s International Small Arms Destruction Day. Who knew?

From the UN’s press release:

In light of the International Small Arms Destruction Day, Kosovo destroyed over 1,700 small arms and light weapons (SALW) with support from the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Firearms and Explosives Risk Minimization (FERM) project. The objective was to raise awareness of the dangers of surplus, illegal and insufficiently secured weapons, and to increase the security and safety of people living in Kosovo.

The destruction was organized by the Kosovo Police and took place at Shkritorija, Janjevo. The arms that were destroyed were weapons that the police had confiscated during their crime investigation work.

The Minister of Internal Affairs of Kosovo, Mr. Skender Hyseni, and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Alessandra Roccasalvo were joined by the Deputy General Director of the Kosovo Police, Naim Rexha and Mr. Asllan Uka on a panel.

This destruction is an important element of Kosovo’s comprehensive Small Arms and Light Weapons Control Programme because it is an effective method of reducing the number of illegal weapons in the market, and reducing the potential supply of such weapons in the future. This destruction ensures that SALW will not find their way back into the illicit market and can thus build confidence in overall efforts to prevent, combat, and eradicate their illicit trade. It also contributes to decreasing the number of people who will face the similar hardships to Asllan Uka in the future.

The destruction of SALW was supported by the European Union, through the COUNCIL DECISION 2013/730/CFSP, dated 9 December 2013, in Support of SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europe (EUSAC), in the framework of the EU Strategy to Combat the Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of SALW and their Ammunition.

It seems the State Department stopped publicizing the day back in 2010 when Hillary Clinton was still Secretary of State. Back then, the State Department boasted that the United States had spent over $130 million to support the destruction of 1.4 million small arms and light weapons, 80,000 tons of munitions, and 32,000 ManPADS.

I’ll give them the ManPADS. However, doesn’t it make more economic sense to reuse some of that 80,000 tons of ammunition? I will acknowledge that some will be artillery shells but a lot of it probably was 7.62×39 ammo which could have either gone to our allies who use that round or be imported here as surplus ammo. Moreover, I would think many of the destroyed small arms could have been imported as parts kits.

Of course it made more economic sense but when has economic sense mattered to the United Nations or, for that matter, to the Obama Administration. It is the agenda and not the cost that matters.

“United States Welcomes Opening of Arms Trade Treaty for Signature”

The headline is from a release put out by the State Department noting that the United States planned to sign the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty. Maybe the vaguely French looking Secretary of State who, by the way, served in Vietnam, welcomes it along with the rest of the Obama Administration but most assuredly I don’t welcome it and neither do at least 130 members of Congress.

Last week, 130 members of Congress signed a letter to Obama and Kerry urging them to reject the measure for this and other reasons.

“As your review of the treaty continues, we strongly encourage your administration to recognize its textual, inherent and procedural flaws, to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership, and to defend the sovereignty of the United States, and thus to decide not to sign this treaty,” the lawmakers wrote.

The chance of adoption by the U.S. is slim, even if Obama goes ahead and signs it — as early as Monday, or possibly months down the road. A majority of Senate members have come out against the treaty. A two-thirds majority would be needed in the Senate to ratify.

 Kerry’s statement goes on to say it won’t infringe on the Second Amendment.

The ATT will not undermine the legitimate international trade in
conventional weapons, interfere with national sovereignty, or infringe
on the rights of American citizens, including our Second Amendment
rights.

I wonder if he considers the walking of guns to Mexico in Operation Fast and Furious to have been “legitimate international trade in conventional weapons” as it certainly did interfere with the national sovereignty of Mexico. Kerry’s remark that it won’t infringe upon the Second Amendment does not even dignify a response.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Canada, by the way, has not yet decided whether or not it plans to sign the Arms Trade Treaty.

The federal government hasn’t decided whether it agrees with the UN’s arms trade treaty, despite having voted to move it ahead in the first place, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Monday.

“We believe that any treaty regarding the sale of munitions that helps move the international community closer to world-leading standards is a good thing,” Baird said during question period. “We participated actively in these discussions. I think we have an obligation to listen before we act, and that is why we will be consulting with Canadians before the government takes any decision.”

The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister went on to say that the Canadian Government sees a potential link between the ATT and their former gun registry which they abolished last year.

I think the Canadians are being a heck of a lot smarter about this than the US which doesn’t surprise me in the least.

The “Real” Liberator Pistol

The new Liberator pistol from Defense Distributed is gaining as much attention from having its 3-D plans removed from their website at the request of the State Department as for the plans themselves. I know that I for one downloaded the plans from Pirate Bay just because.

This got me to thinking about the FP-45 Liberator pistol from World War II. It was designed as an insurgent’s weapon with the idea that the resistance fighter would use it to kill a German soldier and take his weapon and ammunition. The original idea was to drop these by the thousands in Occupied Europe. While some did make it to France, more were distributed in China and the Philippines by the Office of Strategic Services.

In the video below, Phil Schreier, Senior Curator at the NRA National Firearms Museum, discusses the history of the FP-45.

Doing a little Google search, I found the original blueprints for the FP-45 as designed by the Inland Manufacturing Division of General Motors. You can see them below as well as download them from Scribd.

#15seconds

The Israel Defense Forces have put out a YouTube video entitled #15seconds. 15 seconds is about the amount of warning Israelis living near the Gaza Strip get as they seek shelter from the Katyusha rockets being fired on them by Hamas.

I’d say this is a pretty powerful video that gets the message across very effectively. It is a shame that those on the Left and within the Obama Administration lean more towards the terrorists than towards the citizens of the only real democracy in the Middle East.

I anticipate it will only get worse given the continued diplomatic failures of the Obama Administration and the State Department led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And They Want You To Believe In That Fairy Tale Called The UN, Too

The State Department is saying that the Arms Trade Treaty won’t handicap our Second Amendment rights according to a story in TheHill.com.

“The Arms Trade Treaty will not in any way handicap the legitimate right of self-defense,” Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller said in a tweet.

The tweet links to a list of “redlines” the administration has established for the treaty, which aims to “establish common international standards for the import, export, and transfer of conventional arms to help prevent the acquisition of arms by terrorists, criminals, and those who violate human rights or are subject to UN arms embargoes.” The United Nations is scheduled to spend all month trying to devise a treaty that all its members can agree to.

The “redlines” as published on the State Department’s website include:

  • The Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld.
  • There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution.
  • There will be no dilution or diminishing of sovereign control over issues involving the private acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms, which must remain matters of domestic law.
  • The U.S. will oppose provisions inconsistent with existing U.S. law or that would unduly interfere with our ability to import, export, or transfer arms in support of our national security and foreign policy interests.
  • The international arms trade is a legitimate commercial activity, and otherwise lawful commercial trade in arms must not be unduly hindered.
  • There will be no requirement for reporting on or marking and tracing of ammunition or explosives.
  • There will be no lowering of current international standards.
  • Existing nonproliferation and export control regimes must not be undermined.
  • The ATT negotiations must have consensus decision making to allow us to protect U.S. equities.
  • There will be no mandate for an international body to enforce an ATT.

Color me skeptical of both the State Department and the United Nations when it comes to arms control. As to the Second Amendment being upheld, given the prevailing opinion of many within this administration, Heller notwithstanding, that it only guarantees a collective right, this seems to me to be a throw-away for them.

The State Department also states that it is the position of the United States that the ATT include parts and components as well as a broadly defined list of armaments including “tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery systems, military aircraft, military helicopters, naval vessels, missiles, missile launchers, small arms and light weapons, and combat support equipment.” If this is the case, then you can kiss parts kits for AKs, FN-FALs, and many other former military rifles and carbines good-bye.

Diversion Of Legally Exported Firearms To The Narco-Terrorists

Sharyl Attkisson has a report this morning on the legal commercial sales of firearms to the Mexican government and specifically the Mexican Army. All of these sales must be (and have been approved) by the U.S. State Department before any manufacturer is allowed to ship the guns to Mexico.

The reported number of AR-15s sold in 2006 was 2,400. By 2009, in the first year of the Obama Administration, the number of semi-automatic firearms sold to Mexico was 17,169 plus another 1,361 full-auto firearms. The 2009 figures come from the Department of State’s Section 665 Report to Congress. As Attkisson notes, the Department of State has stopped disclosing the actual number of firearms sold. Checking the FY 2010 report, I find that she is correct and that the State Department just lumps everything into one category which could include anything from a firearm to its firing pin. I find it illuminating that as the drug war intensifies om Mexico and the Obama Administration is making a push to “stop the iron river of arms” going to Mexico that they now stop reporting just how many legal arms are being sold.

The problem as Attkisson points out is not the legal sales of firearms to the Mexican Army, it is the diversion of these weapons from the Army to the narco-terrorists. When a poorly paid Private deserts from the Mexican Army, it has become commonplace for his issued weapon to desert with him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t then become stashed under the floorboards in his home for defending the wife and kids but rather goes to the cartels for a significant sum of money.

Ed Head made this same point in an interview with Cam Edwards of NRA News last week. The Obama Administration would have you believe that the arms going to the cartels are coming from border-state gun dealers. They want you to ignore the man behind the curtain or, in this case, the legal sales of firearms that are being diverted from the Mexican Army.

Attkisson reports that the State Department audits a very small percentage of the sales. Of those that it audited, it found that 26% of the firearms had been diverted or some other unfavorable result. Larry Keane of NSSF agrees that the State Department and the Mexican government need to provide better oversight of these firearms once they are in the hands of the Mexican Army. He is correct when he asserts that this is beyond the scope of what the American firearms industry can do.

Clarification?

On Friday the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City released this.

Clarification

March 11, 2011 – Because of the attention given to this issue, the Embassy of the United States would like to issue the following clarification:

There is no contradiction between the statement of the Mexican government and the information provided by the United States concerning an operation that dismantled a major arms trafficking ring that has been called Fast and Furious. The operation took place on U.S. territory and arrested 20 defendants on January 25, 2011.

After the arrests on January 25, reports emerged alleging that the operation could have entailed a transfer of arms from the United States to Mexico. Attorney General Holder has called for an investigation. He has stated unequivocally that such actions, if true, “would not be acceptable.” He affirmed that he “made that clear to attorneys and agents in charge of ATF.”

The Mexican Government has stated that “it had no knowledge of an operation that might include the transgression or the controlled trafficking of arms to Mexican territory.” The briefings that took place between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement focused on operations on U.S. territory to crack down on trafficking operations. The alleged transfer of arms to Mexican territory at this point is exactly that – an allegation. Attorney General Holder has underscored that he takes “those allegations seriously.” He said “that is why I asked the IG (Inspector General) to report on it.”

The Government of Mexico has constructively “offered whatever support might be necessary in order to clearly establish the facts.” This type of mutual support is reflective of our common objectives to stop the illicit movement of arms, drugs and money that threaten both Mexican and U.S. citizens.

I think the proper term to describe this press release is not clarification but spin. This is especially true when you examine this map of recovered firearms for Operation Fast and Furious. It was released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. It shows 372 firearms recovered in the United States and 195 firearms recovered in Mexico. So  if the U.S. Attorney’s Office says 195 firearms were recovered in Mexico, is this just “an allegation”?

I suggest the Press Attache’ in the U.S Embassy to Mexico check to make sure they won’t be immediately contradicted when they issue a press release in the future. As it is, they are the public face of the United States government in Mexico and this release is an embarrassment.

H/T CUATF.org

Spetnatz With EoTech Optics?

The KitUp Blog posted this video today of Russian special forces engaged in urban operations – presumably counter-terrorism. Virtually all of their AK’s were equipped with what looked like an EoTech holographic optic. They also have some very interesting mounts for these optics. While I’m sure LaRue Tactical has nothing to worry about, I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a set to use with my AK-74.

As they note in the KitUp blog, they don’t know whether these are real or knock-offs of EoTechs. Given that the EoTech optic is a controlled item, it would be interesting to know if they are indeed real just who approved their export to Russia. As you can see by EoTech’s disclaimer below, they require export licenses. Perhaps this is what Hillary meant by hitting the “Re-Set Button”.

This Holographic Weapon Sight must be exported from the United States in accordance with Export Administration Regulations ECCN 0A987. Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited. In accordance with U.S. law (Title 15 CFR part 746 and Supplement No. 1 to Part 774; and Title 31 CFR) resale/re-export or transfer of Holographic Weapon Sight Models 552, 551, 512, 511, 4X magnifier and 3X magnifier to certain designated countries is prohibited without prior written consent of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Holographic Weapon Sight Models 553, 557 and 555 are controlled under U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and may not be exported without proper authorization by the U.S. Department of State.

Update on Korean Garands and M-1 Carbines

David Codrea in his National Gun Rights Examiner column has some very interesting information regarding the Korean M-1 Garands and M-1 Carbines that have not been allowed to be imported into the United States.

It seems the State Department is using a BATFE Advisory as the basis for denial.  The key phrase in the letter is that ATF believes these firearms “pose a threat to public safety in the U. S.” Oh, please! Give me a break.

Go to the link above and read the whole column and then go and read the ATF document below. As Bugs Bunny might have said, “What a bunch of maroons”.

M1import